Friday, May 28, 2010

She'll have her cake and feed them, too

I've debated about this post. I've prayed about it. And I decided to go ahead and write it. It's 2 parts: the first is Susie's birthday cake recipe, and the second is Susie's birthday letter and present.

Part 1: "She'll have her cake"

Sue Benzing's Whipped Cream Frosting

4 T. Flour, 1 c. milk, 1 c. sugar, 1 c. margarine or butter, 1 t. vanilla

Whisk flour and milk and cook together until very thick. Cool in fridge till chilled. Whip sugar and butter together for 15 minutes scraping sides of bowl often. (Sugar mixture will be nearly white) Add flour mixture and vanilla to sugar mixture and mix well. Note: use this frosting while it is still fluffy, and then serve immediately or refrigerate your cake.

This note is from my mom, written in her own handwriting in my sister-in-law's cookbook:
~I got this recipe when I was in Jr. High at Woodward High School in Cincinnati. It became the traditional birthday frosting at our house. For Nate's first birthday I used this frosting tinted yellow to frost a little bear cake. He licked the beaters for the first time!!

And tonight I let Susie lick the beater. Her whole arm was sticky, and she kept saying "mmmm".

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Adapted from Paula Deen’s Hummingbird Cake

Nonstick vegetable spray
All-purpose flour, for pans
3 cups self-rising flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup pureed strawberries
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, beaten


- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and flour two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.
- Prepare the cake batter; in a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pureed strawberries, vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs.
- Divide batter between prepared pans, filling about halfway up. There will be leftover batter, which I used to make 9 cupcakes. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertips, 26 to 28 minutes.
- Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Part 2: "And feed them, too." Here is the letter I wrote for Susie's birthday gift:

To my beloved daughter Susan Faye on her first birthday:

For your birthday, I searched and searched and thought and thought about what to give you for your present. I wanted to get you a Teddy Bear, but you don’t like fur too much right now! I thought about getting you some toy blocks, or pretty hair bows, but that didn’t seem special enough. But I knew what God wanted me to give you for your birthday when I got a letter in the mail about the children in Africa who don’t have enough food. You saw the pictures of the babies in on the letter and said “Baby! Baby!” You love babies. I wanted to give you something for the poor babies for your birthday, so we gave money to help feed them. I chose to do this because I know that toys are fun, but really not important – and people are important. You are very blessed – you get to have yummy birthday cake for your tummy, and those poor babies do not have any food for their tummies. You have a special new birthday dress to wear, and those poor children have scarcely any clothing.

My prayer for you is that you will grow up to be a girl with a heart full of compassion for the poor and weak, and hands that reach out far and wide to bring grace and peace and healing to those who are hurting.

“Great God, May my Susie be inclined to pour herself out for the hungry

and satisfy the desire of the afflicted.

Make her count the garments of salvation as sufficient clothing valued by her as more precious and worthy of care than the adornments of kings and queens.”

I cannot believe it has been a whole year since I first saw your face. Time has gone so fast and Daddy and I have been so very happy to watch you grow. We have enjoyed you -- this precious gift God has lent us. We know that you are not ours to keep – we joyfully give you back to God.

Love, Mama and Daddy

I saved the pictures that came in the letter of the hungry babies so Susie can see them again as she gets older. The organization I sent money to was World Vision. Click here to read about how you can help with the food crisis in Africa, where right now your donation is multiplied times 7!!

I hope the title of this post doesn't sound trite, but this is the approach I took to her birthday -- enjoying and celebrating the blessing of my daughter, while also taking thought to what truly counts. . . in the long run.


Barb said...


Anonymous said...

Gretchen, First the frosting recipe is the one I have used for years for the red velvet cake given to me from Bob's Mom-our favorite
Second, how wonderful a gift for Susie, I know it has come from your heart to Susie heart and to God's
Third, I think your Dad's statement came from his Mom....:)

sara's art house said...

Thanks for sharing this, Gret- beautiful! Great ideas for giving your precious daughter the example of right priorities.